The POPE Encyclopedia

by Matthew Bunson

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Pope from 1088 to 1099, best known for calling for the First
Crusade  to  capture  Jerusalem from Islamic control. Odo of
Lagery was born in Chatillon-sur-Marne, the son  of  nobles.
He studied at Reims under the renowned St. Bruno, founder of
the Carthusian order. Entering the  reforming  monastery  of
Cluny  around  1068, he was appointed the cardinal bishop of
Ostia and papal legate to Germany by Pope  St.  Gregory  VII
(1073-  1085). Known for his eloquence, intelligence, piety,
and commitment to continuing the reforms of Gregory, Odo was
elected  to  succeed Victor III, his reign dating from March
12, 1088. His elevation came at a difficult  time,  for  the
papacy  was  still  embroiled  in the struggle with the Holy
Roman  Emperor  Henry  IV  over  the  controversy   of   lay
investiture. As part of the conflict with Gregory, Henry had
orchestrated the elevation of the antipope Clement III,  who
was supported at the time of Urban's election by most of the
bishops of Germany. Severely impoverished,  Urban  patiently
worked  to  weaken  Clement  and  was  able  to  take  final
possession of Rome only  in  1093,  using  some  well-placed
bribes to win control of the Lateran and Castel Sant'Angelo.
Urban used a more realistic approach, which he found helpful
in solidifying his position as pope. At the Council of Melfi
in 1089 he issued decrees against investiture and simony, at
Piacenza in 1095 he advanced more reforms, and at the famous
Council of Clermont that same year he proclaimed  the  Truce
of  God  which sought to prevent bloodshed among the violent
knights of the time by curbing fighting  and  vendettas.  In
response  to  urgent  appeals  for  help  from the Byzantine
emperor Alexius I Comnenos, he called upon all Christians to
march to the Holy Land and free Jerusalem. His plea launched
a crusading effort  that  would  endure  for  the  next  two
centuries   and   have  colossal  consequences  for  Western
culture. Urban cultivated good relations with the Normans of
southern  Italy, granting to Roger I of Sicily (d. 1101) the
so-called Monarchia  Sicula,  control  over  the  Church  in
Sicily,  which  would last until 1869. In his administration
of the Church, Urban brought changes to papal  finances  and
the  papal governsment, first coming the term Curia Romania,
still used today. Urban died on  July  9,  1099.  Successor:
Paschal II.

(sebelum, sesudah)

Published by Crown Trade Paperbacks
201 East 50th Street, New York
New York 10022, USA
ISBN 0-517-88256-6

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